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Road Surface Condition IH 10, IH 20

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Hi.  I am thinking of taking a road trip from Pennsylvania to El Paso and I would like to go through New Orleans as I haven't been there for 11 years.  The problem is this:  I have a back problem where if I drive over bad roads my whole back and neck hurts.  I can drive for days on good roads and not have a problem, but bad roads are a different story.  When I lived in NOLA for a short while in '98, I didn't have this problem yet, but I do remember the roads being kinda bad - 10 from Louisanna to Texas especially.   I would like to see NOLA again, but will forego this if the roads are still bad.  Since I would like to travel through far west Texas on 10 I can't stay too far north.  I looked at some pictures on this website and some close-ups of 10 through Lafayette Parish looked ragged.  Can anyone tell me about I 20 through LA?   I would really welcome and appreciate information on either highway.

Urban Prairie Schooner:
The worst stretches of I-10 are in Calcasieu Parish (Lake Charles area), Lafayette to Henderson, and in eastern New Orleans out to the twin spans. Otherwise the road surface conditions should be nothing too much to worry about.

A stretch of I-10 thru BR was resurfaced recently with asphalt. The section east of central BR out to Sorrento is concrete and reasonably smooth except for the occasional asphalt strip. I-10 in St. James Parish and western St. John the Baptist was also overlaid with asphalt quite recently - in fact the crews are installing the finishing touches right now, so be aware of lane restrictions there, because they do cause traffic backups even at that rural location. The formerly pathetic concrete section of I-10 thru Slidell was also recently overlaid with asphalt.

Another construction zone would be I-10 from Causeway Blvd. to the I-610 split where there is some widening work occuring. Be aware of narrowed lanes in that area. I think the surfacing work is complete there, at least on EB.

The major bridges and viaducts do sport metal expansion joints that create the distinct "thu-thunk-thu-thunk" experience of Louisiana bridges, but it generally poses no problems for me. The high rise bridge in eastern NO is an exception, as the outer lanes are crossed by large metal plates at the expansion joints that jut into the roadway. Also the WB twin span on I-10 is still using temporary metal spans that are narrower and trickier to navigate than the regular concrete bridge.

I will recommend this much - if you are travelling on I-10 EB, just after you cross over the Loyola Drive overpass in Kenner, there is a nasty bump at the base of the overpass which is most prominent in the center lane. If you venture this way, I would recommend staying out of the center lane at that location.

Also beware of New Orleans city streets. Conditions vary from good to horrible.

I-12 is a good alternate route from a pavement perspective, though traffic is heavy and freight traffic is dense as truckers favor this route.

Thank you so much.  I remember the downtown roads being bad.  The details you gave me might be neck savers.  I might consider I 12, though.

I-20 through Louisiana is a breeze. Shreveport and Monroe still have some older stretches of slab concrete, but when you're not in the larger cities like those, 20 is great through that state.

Same can be said through Mississippi. There is a rough concrete stretch from the Hinds County line to a few miles east of there, but if you stay in the left lane, all should be well (I'm not sure what 20 is like toward Meridian). Also, if you're traveling through Jackson, be aware of the "Yazoo clay" they have there. Over time, the ground shifts due to the clay and it causes major waves/dips on the roadways in the area. Since you'll be coming from the north, if you happen to be traveling on I-55 through Mississippi, you're golden. Every bad concrete stretch I can think of has been diamond grinded within the last few years and the concrete slabs are now level.

As for I-10 through Texas, all should be well. There is a section of slab concrete in east Houston right before Beltway 8, but I can't think of any other section you'll want to be mindful of.

Parts of I-20 on the west side of Shreveport were recently re-built and should be in excellent to good condition.


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